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Postgraduate Research

We offer 2 programmes within the department, a 3-year and 4-year programme. Our programmes are funded from many sources including the Research Councils (EPSRC, BBRSC, NERC and MRC), Charities, the European Community, US Government sources and industry in the UK, Europe and the USA.

PhD Chemistry (3-year)

PhD Chemistry

The 3-year Chemistry PhD programme is focused on a major piece of original research. You will study under the direct supervision of a member of staff, who is an expert in his or her area of specialisation. The department offers a broad range of research themes across physical, organic, inorganic and computational chemistry, specific departmental strengths are listed under research areas below.

Read more on the Chemistry PhD programme 

Wellcome Trust Interdisciplinary Programme in Structural, Computational and Chemical Biology (4-year)

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This unique programme offers opportunities to study at UCL, Birkbeck College and MRC-NIMR. Students are exposed to a wide range of training in protein structure, chemical biology and the computational tools necessary to address important problems in biomedicine.

Read more on the SCCB programme

 

A 3-year PhD studentship in electrochemical potassium storage (D/L:28/02/21)

Supervisor: Dr Yang Xu
Application deadline: February 28th, 2021
Start date: September 27th, 2021

UCL Chemistry Department is offering a fully funded three-year studentship to a highly motivated candidate to start in September 2021. The student will carry out his/her doctoral research under the supervision of Dr Yang Xu and have the opportunity to collaborate with researchers at UCL and internationally.

Batteries beyond the material supply and performance limitation of Li-ion technology are essential for providing solutions of large-scale energy storage and accelerating the market penetration of electric vehicles. The project will develop exciting next generation of energy storage technologies that are built on K battery chemistry. We will look at enhancing the performance of K-ion batteries through discovering and designing new electrode materials and investigating structural defects, particularly at local atomic and nanometric scales. New synthetic protocols will be developed, and a suite of characterisation tools (ex-situ and in-situ) will be utilised to understand the structural defect-battery performance relationship. The obtained understanding will be applied to Na-ion battery electrode materials, which provides insights into the comparison between Na and K battery chemistries. This project will suit someone who has an enthusiasm and drive for research in battery and energy storage technologies. Some experience in wet chemistry synthesis and electrochemical characterisation would be useful but not essential as training and guidance in these techniques will be given.

The applicants should have, or be expecting to achieve, a first or upper second-class Honours degree in Chemistry, Chemical Engineering, Materials Science, or a related subject. 

Interested candidates should initially contact supervisor Dr Yang Xu (y.xu.1@ucl.ac.uk, Google Scholar: https://scholar.google.com/citations?user=0rjWUboAAAAJ&hl=en) with a detailed CV, a degree transcript and a motivation letter expressing interest and relevant skills in this project. Informal inquiries are encouraged. Suitable candidates should complete an electronic application form at http://www.ucl.ac.uk/prospective-students/graduate/apply. They will be invited for the interview no more than 2 weeks after the application deadline. Any admissions queries should be directed to Dr Jadranka Butorac (j.butorac@ucl.ac.uk).

Applications are welcome from UK nationals, EU students with settled/pre-settled status and students with indefinite leave to remain or enter.  Please note that we are currently seeking clarity from the Department for Education on how EU students with pre-settled and settled status will be considered in terms of fee status as the studentship only covers home fees. 

Applications will be accepted until February 28th, 2021.

A 3-year PhD studentship in Materials Chemistry (D/L:26/02/21)

A fully funded 3-year PhD studentship is available in UCL Chemistry to work on a highly interdisciplinary project in the group of Dr Gemma-Louise Davies.

The project will involve the development of 0D and 1D nanostructured materials for a variety of applications, including for medical applications in the emerging field of ‘theranostics’ (the dual capability of therapeutics and diagnostics on a single platform). The student will gain expertise in inorganic nanomaterial synthetic techniques, continuous flow reactor synthesis, and the use of various analytical techniques, including, but not limited to, relaxometry, clinical MRI and electron microscopy.
Please visit our group website for more details about our research: www.gemmalouisedavies.com

The applicants should have, or expect to gain, at least a 2.1 honours or equivalent at Bachelors or Masters level in Chemistry or a related discipline. The successful applicant will demonstrate strong interest and self-motivation in the subject and the ability to think analytically and creatively. An enquiring and rigorous approach to research as well as good team-working, observational and communication skills (both presentation and writing skills in English) are also essential. Previous research experience in contributing to a collaborative interdisciplinary research environment is highly desirable but not essential, as training will be provided. UCL offers a world leading scientific environment in the heart of London.

Due to funding restrictions, only UK/EU students who meet the 3 years residency criteria are eligible for this studentship. The start date for the PhD is September 2021. The deadline for applications is 26th February 2021, but the position will be filled as soon as an appropriate candidate is found. 
Applicants should send their applications (motivation letter, CV and contact info for 2 referees) by email to Dr Davies (gemma-louise.davies@ucl.ac.uk), who may also be approached for informal enquiries.
Suitable candidates will be required to complete an electronic application form at http://www.ucl.ac.uk/prospective-students/graduate/apply. Any admissions queries should be directed to j.butorac@ucl.ac.uk.

A 3-year PhD studentship in electrocatalysis and microfluidic flow reactor (D/L: 31/07/2021)

Supervisors: Professor Gopinathan Sankar (UCL) and Dr. Albertus Denny Handoko (IMRE, A*STAR, Singapore)
Application deadline: 31 July 2021
Start Date: 27 September 2021
Location: London (1.5 years), Singapore (2 years)
Topic:   
Development of combined electrocatalysis, microfluidic flow reactor and machine learning methods for heterogeneous catalytic reactions.

The Studentship
This position is fully funded by the UCL-A*STAR Collaborative Programme via the Centre for Doctoral Training in Molecular Modelling and Materials Science (M3S CDT) at UCL. The student will be registered for a PhD at UCL where he/she will spend year 1 and the first six months of year 4. The second and third years of the PhD will be spent in IMRE of A*STAR in Singapore. The studentship will cover tuition fees at the Home rate, and an annual stipend of no less than £17,285 increasingly annually with inflation (tax free) pro rata in years 1 and 4. During years 2 and 3, the student will receive a full stipend directly from A*STAR. In addition, A*STAR will provide the student with one-off relocation allowance.

Due to funding restrictions, this studentship only opens to UK nationals, EU nationals with settled/pre-settled status. Please note that we are currently seeking clarity from the Department for Education on how EU students with pre-settled and settled status will be considered in terms of fee status as the studentship only covers home fees.

The Project
Aim is to combine electrocatalysis with continuous micro flow reactor to enable liquid phase heterogeneous catalytic reactions to be efficiently performed. The project will evaluate  kinetics and energetics of electrocatalysis reaction and optimise the reaction conditions through machine learning (ML) algorithms.

The Candidate
The successful applicant should have or expect to achieve a 1st or 2:1 class integrated Masters degree (MEng, MSci, MChem etc.) or equivalent in Chemistry or Chemical Engineering. The successful applicant will demonstrate strong interest and self-motivation in the subject, good experimental practice and the ability to think analytically and creatively. Good computer skills, plus good presentation and writing skills in English, are required. Previous research experience in contributing to a collaborative interdisciplinary research environment is highly desirable but not necessary as training will be provided.
Please contact Prof. Gopinathan Sankar (g.sankar@ucl.ac.uk) further details or to express an interest.
Applications will be accepted until 31 July 2021
but the position will be filled as soon as an appropriate candidate is found.

A 3-year PhD studentship in Atmospheric Pressure Plasma Jet Assisted Manufacture Electrocatalytic Materials (D/L:31/07/2021)

Supervisors: Prof. Daren Caruana (UCL), Dr. Albertus Denny Handoko (IMRE, A*STAR, Singapore)
Application deadline: 31 July 2021
Start Date: 27 September 2021
Location: London (1.5 years), Singapore (2 years)
Subject areas: Catalysts, Plasma Jet, Synthesis, Chemical modification.  

The Studentship
This position is fully funded by the UCL-A*STAR Collaborative Programme via the Centre for Doctoral Training in Molecular Modelling and Materials Science (M3S CDT) at UCL. The student will be registered for a PhD at UCL where he/she will spend year 1 and the first six months of year 4. The second and third years of the PhD will be spent in IMRE of A*STAR in Singapore. The studentship will cover tuition fees at the Home rate, and an annual stipend of no less than £17,285 increasingly annually with inflation (tax free) pro rata in years 1 and 4. During years 2 and 3, the student will receive a full stipend directly from A*STAR. In addition, A*STAR will provide the student a one-off relocation allowance.

Due to funding restrictions, this studentship only opens to UK nationals, EU nationals with settled/pre-settled status. Please note that we are currently seeking clarity from the Department for Education on how EU students with pre-settled and settled status will be considered in terms of fee status as the studentship only covers home fees.

The Project
A major bottleneck of underpinning the fabrication of batteries, electrolysers, photovoltaics, and electrocatalytic reactors development today is the lack of simple and accessible means to deposit metal alloys with great control over its composition and physical dimensions. In this regard, techniques that enables systematic deposition of metal alloys with controllable composition are of great interest. The ability to print and pattern of multi-materials in a single step process with high adhesion onto virtually any substrates is an essential process for many high value devices.

In this project, the ultimate aim will be to explore a method for single step synthesis of multi-materials on a variety of substrates to be tested as electrocatalysts for a variety of applications including CO2 conversion.  Broadly, the training in plasma jet synthesis will be provided at UCL in the laboratory of Prof Caruana. Later, the testing of the materials as electrocatalysts will be done in Singapore in the laboratory of Dr. Handoko.

The Candidate
The successful applicant should have or expect to achieve a 1st or 2:1 class integrated Masters degree (MEng, MSci, MChem etc.) or equivalent in chemistry or materials science. The successful applicant will demonstrate strong interest and self-motivation in the subject, good experimental practice and the ability to think analytically and creatively. Good computer skills, plus good presentation and writing skills in English, are required. Previous research experience in contributing to a collaborative interdisciplinary research environment is highly desirable but not necessary as training will be provided. Please contact Prof Daren Caruana (d.j.caruana@ucl.ac.uk) or Dr. Albertus Denny Handoko (adhandoko@imre.a-star.edu.sg) for further details or to express an interest.

Applications will be accepted until 31 July 2021, but the position will be filled as soon as an appropriate candidate is found.

A 3-year PhD studentship in Development of conducting organometal halide perovskite for energy harvesting application (D/L:31/07/2021)

Supervisors: Professor Robert Palgrave (UCL), Dr. Dexter Tam (IMRE, A*STAR, Singapore)
Application deadline: 31 July 2021
Start Date: 27 September 2021
Location: London (1.5 years), Singapore (2 years)
Subject areas: perovskite solar cells, materials chemistry, solid state chemistry

The Studentship
This position is fully funded by the UCL-A*STAR Collaborative Programme via the Centre for Doctoral Training in Molecular Modelling and Materials Science (M3S CDT) at UCL. The student will be registered for a PhD at UCL where he/she will spend year 1 and the first six months of year 4. The second and third years of the PhD will be spent in IMRE of A*STAR in Singapore. The studentship will cover tuition fees at the Home rate, and an annual stipend of no less than £17,285 increasingly annually with inflation (tax free) pro rata in years 1 and 4. During years 2 and 3, the student will receive a full stipend directly from A*STAR. In addition, A*STAR will provide the student with one-off relocation allowance.
Due to funding restrictions, this studentship only opens to UK nationals, EU nationals with settled/pre-settled status. Please note that we are currently seeking clarity from the Department for Education on how EU students with pre-settled and settled status will be considered in terms of fee status as the studentship only covers home fees.

The Project
Objective To synthesize and characterize novel conducting organometal halide perovskite (OMH) perovskite for energy harvesting applications via the use of organic radical cations.
Project Description The explosive growth of organometal halide perovskite (OMH) perovskite research led by the success in solar cells has triggered much fundamental work on their properties and other possible applications. One of the interesting areas is doping of OMH perovskite to increase its electrical conductivity. This has the potential to eliminate the need of hole/electron transporting layer (thereby simplifying device structure and reducing cost) and/or also improve the performance in OMH perovskite solar cells/phototransistors. Conducting OMH perovskite may also find applications in thermoelectrics.

Doping of OMH perovskite via metal substitution or interstitial doping is challenging as few ions can successfully be incorporated into the halide perovskite structure. Surface doping such as using cobaltcene has also been explored and has led to a current record conductivity of 10-4 S cm-1, as compared to 10-8 S cm-1 for pristine film. In recently obtained results, we have successfully doped MAPbI3 using an organic radical cation that resulted in conductivity as high as 10-2 S cm-1. We believe the organic radical cation partially substitutes the methylammonium (MA+) cation on the surface of the film to introduce a half-filled band that leads to the observed high conductivity. In this project, the successful candidate will build on this work, and explore the use of radial organic cations for surface modification of halide perovskites and related materials. The project will involve solid state and thin film synthesis, characterisation of materials using techniques like XRD, Raman, SEM, TEM, optical spectroscopy, transport measurements, and device characterisation.

The Candidate
The successful applicant should have or expect to achieve a 1st or 2:1 class integrated Masters degree (MEng, MSci, MChem etc.) or equivalent in Chemistry, materials science, or a closely related discipline. The successful applicant will demonstrate strong interest and self-motivation in the subject, good experimental practice and the ability to think analytically and creatively. Good computer skills, plus good presentation and writing skills in English, are required. Previous research experience in contributing to a collaborative interdisciplinary research environment is highly desirable but not necessary as training will be provided.

Please contact Prof Robert Palgrave (r.palgrave@ucl.ac.uk) for further details or to express an interest.
Applications will be accepted until 31 July 2021 but the position will be filled as soon as an appropriate candidate is found.

A 3-year PhD studentship in Computational Prediction of Novel Thermoelectric Semiconductors (D/L:31/07/2021)

Supervisors: Professor David O. Scanlon (UCL), Dr Michael B. Sullivan (IHPC, A*STAR, Singapore), Professor Kedar Hippalgaonkar (IMRE, A*STAR, Singapore
Application deadline: 31 July 2021
Start Date: 27 September 2021
Location: London (1.5 years), Singapore (2 years)
Subject areas: Computational Materials Chemistry, Materials Science

The Studentship

This position is fully funded by the UCL-A*STAR Collaborative Programme via the Centre for Doctoral Training in Molecular Modelling and Materials Science (M3S CDT) at UCL. The student will be registered for a PhD at UCL where he/she will spend year 1 and the first six months of year 4. The second and third years of the PhD will be spent in IHPC of A*STAR in Singapore. The Studentship will cover tuition fees at the Home rate, and an annual stipend of no less than £17,285 increasingly annually with inflation (tax free) pro rata in years 1 and 4. During years 2 and 3, the student will receive a full stipend directly from A*STAR. In addition, A*STAR will provide the student with one-off relocation allowance.

Due to funding restrictions, this studentship only opens to UK nationals, EU nationals with settled/pre-settled status. Please note that we are currently seeking clarity from the Department for Education on how EU students with pre-settled and settled status will be considered in terms of fee status as the studentship only covers home fees.

Objective To use state-of-the-art computational chemistry to predict the performance of novel semiconductors for thermoelectric energy generation

The Project As the global demand for energy grows inexorably, renewable energy production is becoming increasingly important. Thermoelectrics (TEs) allows us to convert heat (temperature differences) directly into energy using a phenomenon called the Seebeck Effect. Heat to electricity conversion in thermoelectric systems will play an important role in future energy generation and efficiency. Existing and potential applications of thermoelectric systems include: industrial waste heat recovery; transport heat recovery; radioisotope power systems; space exploration; cooling optoelectronic components; mass-market refrigeration; heat sensors.

In this project we will use computational techniques to understand the defect chemistry and thermal transport properties of a range of potential thermoelectric materials in the Materials Theory Group (www.davidscanlon.com) at UCL, and at IHPC (https://www.a-star.edu.sg/ihpc) at A*STAR, and our computational predictions will feed into the Accelerated Materials Development for Manufacturing Programme at IMRE A*STAR led by Professor Hippalgaonkar. (https://kedarh.wixsite.com/nanotransport).

The Candidate

The successful applicant should have or expect to achieve a 1st or 2:1 class integrated Masters degree (MEng, MSci, MChem etc.) or equivalent in Chemistry, Physics, Materials Science or a closely related discipline. The successful applicant will demonstrate strong interest and self-motivation in the subject and the ability to think analytically and creatively. Good computer skills, plus good presentation and writing skills in English, are required. Previous research experience in Computational Chemistry/Physics and/or coding is highly desirable but not necessary as training will be provided.   

Please contact Professor David Scanlon (d.scanlon@ucl.ac.uk)) for further details or to express an interest.

Applications will be accepted until 31 July 2021 but the position will be filled as soon as an appropriate candidate is found.

A 3-year PhD studentship in deep-learning assisted in silico design of active materials for targeted delivery (D/L:31/07/2021)

Supervisors: Dr Giorgio Volpe (UCL), Dr Yuan Cheng (IHPC, A*STAR, Singapore)
Application deadline: 31 July 2021
Start Date: 27 September 2021
Location: London (1.5 years), Singapore (2 years)
Subject areas: deep learning, soft matter, active matter, targeted delivery, self-assembly, biosensing, computational sciences

The Studentship
This position is fully funded by the UCL-A*STAR Collaborative Programme via the Centre for Doctoral Training in Molecular Modelling and Materials Science (M3S CDT) at UCL. The student will be registered for a PhD at UCL where he/she will spend year 1 and the first six months of year 4. The second and third years of the PhD will be spent at the A*STAR Institute of High Performance Computing in Singapore. The studentship will cover tuition fees at the Home rate, and an annual stipend of no less than £17,285 increasingly annually with inflation (tax free) pro rata in years 1 and 4. During years 2 and 3, the student will receive a full stipend directly from A*STAR. In addition, A*STAR will provide the student with one-off relocation allowance.

Due to funding restrictions, this studentship only opens to UK nationals, EU nationals with settled/pre-settled status. Please note that we are currently seeking clarity from the Department for Education on how EU students with pre-settled and settled status will be considered in terms of fee status as the studentship only covers home fees.

The Project
For over a decade now, the soft matter research community has been fascinated with creating small particles that are capable of autonomous motion at the microscopic and nanoscopic scale. The drive for this is the hope to engineer micro- and nanocarriers that can perform complex operations and tasks at the microscale. One of the most promising tasks is the possibility to realize tiny biocompatible agents that can navigate the human body autonomously to deliver cargoes, such as drugs or genetic material, in a targeted way, thus significantly improving on state-of-the art delivery and biosensing technologies. Despite extensive research, including recent advances from our group, this task still remains elusive to date. The aim of this collaborative project is to develop an efficient computational framework for the in-silico design of self-propelling microscopic particles that can autonomously navigate towards a biological target and bind to receptors expressed on it relying on selective and reversible DNA-based chemical binding schemes. In order to achieve this goal, we will use different numerical techniques (e.g. Brownian dynamics and deep-learning approaches with neural networks) to realize efficient materials modeling and design.

The Candidate
The successful applicant should have or expect to achieve a 1st or 2:1 class integrated Masters degree (MEng, MSci, MChem etc.) or equivalent in Computational Chemistry, Physics, Materials Science, Engineering or a related discipline. The successful applicant will demonstrate strong interest and self-motivation in the subject, excellent programming skills (in C++, Matlab, Python or equivalent) and the ability to think analytically and creatively. Good computer skills, plus good presentation and writing skills in English, are required. Previous research experience in contributing to a collaborative interdisciplinary research environment is highly desirable but not necessary as training will be provided. 

Please contact Dr Giorgio Volpe (g.volpe@ucl.ac.uk) or Dr Yuan Cheng (chengy@ihpc.a-star.edu.sg) for further details or to express an interest. Include a CV, the contact details of two referees and a cover letter explaining your interest in the position.

Applications will be accepted until 31 July 2021 but the position will be filled as soon as an appropriate candidate is found.

Resources:

We offer an excellent education with high standards of teaching in an exciting but friendly environment. We foster a community feel to the department and you will mix throughout your time here with staff, undergraduate students and researchers.

UCL Scholarships: find the currently available Studentships with the Scholarships and funding tool.

Questions & Answers: There's a lot you should ask and a lot for us to tell you in our FAQ section.

Departmental Graduate Tutor
Professor Jim C. Anderson
Email: j.c.anderson@ucl.ac.uk

For all PGR enquiries contact:
Email: doctoral.chem@ucl.ac.uk